Current Weather
The Spy FM

Company To Offer $75,000 Balloon Rides To ‘Near Space’

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
October 22, 2013

If you can’t afford a trip into orbit as a space tourist aboard a cramped Russian Soyuz capsule (about $35 million) or a reservation on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipOne (price tag: $250,000), World View Enterprises just might have the ticket: a leisurely high-altitude balloon ride for a less-than-stratospheric $75,000.

Tucson-based World View on Tuesday unveiled the planned balloon rides, which the company says will reach altitudes of about 100,000 feet — high enough to see the blackness of space and the curvature of the Earth.

On its website, World View boasts “majestic views of our planet, slowly expanding below … certain to captivate you, as you ascend to the edge of space.”

“Seeing the Earth hanging in the ink-black void of space will help people realize our connection to our home planet and to the universe around us,” World View CEO Jane Poynter said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is also our goal to open up a whole new realm for exercising human curiosity, scientific research and education.”

Space.com reports:

“Passengers on World View balloon flights will ride inside a capsule designed by Paragon Space Development Corp., which is also aiding two private Mars efforts — the Inspiration Mars mission to send two astronauts on a Red Planet flyby in 2018 and Mars One, a project that aims to land four people on the Red Planet in 2023 as the vanguard of a permanent colony.

Paragon has already begun testing capsule components and will soon start demonstrating the flight capabilities of the entire system, World View officials said.”

And Wired adds:

“The ability to spend hours at 100,000 feet, does offer new opportunities, even if it doesn’t include the weightlessness being touted by Virgin Galactic’s parabolic flight path. The helium balloon could be launched at night to offer a spectacular sunrise opportunity with pretty much all of the atmosphere below you, and the darkness of space remaining above you even after the sun is up.”

But going aloft 19 miles isn’t for the faint of heart. A look at the company’s promotional animation (above) shows the gentle ascent of the gondola/capsule and then its separation and return via para-glider. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

11PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 6AM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

6AM to 7AM Travel with Rick Steves

Travel with Rick Steves

"Travel with Rick Steves" is a fun, hour-long, and practical talk show with guest experts and calls and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center